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Israel is going to keep on killing Palestinian boys, until U.S. Jews endorse BDS

By Philip Weiss

December 18, 2020 "Information Clearing House" - We all know that one of the most important events of this eventful year was the police murder last May of George Floyd in South Minneapolis, which, because there had been many George Floyds before George Floyd, set in train massive national protests, real legal reforms, and a cultural shift in attitudes towards structural racism.

2020 ought to be remembered, too, for the murder 10 days ago of a Palestinian boy protesting the Israeli occupation of his village land. Ali Abu Alia was shot in the stomach by an Israeli soldier wielding an American-made rifle. Ali was 15 that day. He was plainly an innocent child. I don’t care how many rocks that child was throwing. There was an occupying army in his village to steal his land for what Israeli law ennobles as “Jewish settlement.”

So Ali Abu Alia had to be killed on December 4 for the future of Zionism. There will be an Israeli investigation and no one will pay any price for ending this boy’s life and destroying a family.

Unlike George Floyd’s murder, Ali Abu Alia’s murder has not been covered by the New York Times. Liberal Zionists have had almost nothing to say about it, besides a sluggish statement by J Street. Last week Americans for Peace Now launched a fundraiser saying the American Jewish relationship to Israel is at “an inflection point”, and chair Jim Klutznick referenced the killing of John Lennon 40 years before and not the killing of Ali Abu Alia four days before. A grotesque statement indeed.

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A few courageous people have insisted on talking about Ali Abu Alia. Jewish Voice for Peace said that the US should cut off all military aid to Israel — the only appropriate political response. Rashida Tlaib seized on the case, so did the poet Remi Kanazi, and Betty McCollum, the congresswoman from St. Paul, fully rose to the occasion in Congress with yet another groundbreaking speech, about state-sponsored violence against children.

I strongly urge the incoming administration of President-Elect Biden to investigate Israel’s killing of Ali Abu Aalya, as well as Israel’s on-going pattern of using state sponsored military violence against Palestinian children. Members of Congress and the American people deserve to know whether U.S. taxpayer funding to Israel’s Ministry of Defense is being used directly or indirectly to facilitate or enable violence against Palestinian children . . .

I would like Members to read [Gideon Levy’s] column and answer Mr. Levy’s question: What would you think of a government that allows the shooting of children?

McCollum and Kanazi and JVP all think that the murder of Ali Abu Alia — six years after the killing of 500 children in Gaza in 2014, and two years after the killings of hundreds of Gaza protesters during the march of return – should bring about an urgent reckoning in the U.S. Like the murder of George Floyd, which broke down the wall between the activist-left discourse of racial issues and the mainstream Democratic discourse.  

The murder of Ali Abu Alia had no such effect.

There is a simple reason this has not happened. The Jewish community is a central part of the liberal/Democratic Party coalition, and that portion of the Jewish community that cares about Israel is by and large Zionist. “American Jews overwhelmingly support Israel, believing deeply in the idea of a Jewish and democratic state,” says Hadar Suskind of Americans for Peace Now. Still crazy after all these years.

Ten years ago Peter Beinart published his book The Crisis of Zionism, and I celebrated it often, because it was rooted in the idea of bearing witness to Palestinian persecution. It began with the description of an atrocity against a Palestinian family in the West Bank that tore Beinart’s heart. Beinart is such a communal Jew I believed his claim– Zionism is in crisis.

Beinart was wrong. Zionism is not in crisis. If it were in crisis, then Americans for Peace Now would not be able to fundraise over the murder of John Lennon and never mention Ali Abu Alia.

“We may be the dreamers, but, as John Lennon once reminded us, we’re not the only ones,” Klutznick wrote. “Peace may be another decade down the road. Or, it may be around the corner.”

So Palestinians should wait ten years to see what happens while American Jews tell themselves we are supporting a two-state solution that Israel gave up on a long time ago. American Jews don’t feel touched by what Israel is doing to Palestinians in their name. Just some of the younger ones.

There needs to be a crisis. If only for the sake of Palestinian children, American Jews need to look at the world with fresh eyes. Otherwise there will be more and more young Palestinian lives snuffed out as casually as Ali Abu Alia’s was.

The way to bring about that crisis is for Jews who care about Palestinian rights to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. This campaign has electrified the rightwing Israeli political establishment. They hate it. At a time when Israel has never had greater legitimacy, they believe, this campaign is denying Israel’s very existence by opposing the preservation of a “Jewish state.” Netanyahu has given speeches where he has equated BDS with Amalek, the ancient enemy of Israel. Though BDS is nonviolent! And the Israeli government has worked closely with state legislatures and governors across our country as they have passed anti-BDS laws and signed anti-BDS executive orders that are patently unconstitutional infringements of free speech.

Endorsing BDS is not just a provocation. It is an endorsement of human rights, and of what Palestinians have asked non-Palestinians to do for them. They have been asking for such help for 15 years thru unending settlement expansion, segregation and routine slaughters — that Americans for Peace Now and J Street have done nothing to end despite all their best efforts. Boycott is merely the most obvious natural political tool that exists. Just look at how the American Jewish Committee celebrates the use of boycott to battle American segregationists in the 1960s.

American Jews are in denial of what Israel is. They think it is a Jewish and democratic state, whatever that could mean. Americans for Peace Now and J Street are part of that structural denial. They tell us that a two-state solution is around the corner, now that Biden’s in.

We are certain that its foreign policy team will work with us to dismantle the chokehold on peace and help begin to build a stronger and better Israel.

So 650,000 Jewish settlers, a number growing by the day, can and will be removed from the West Bank. And an “apartheid-like reality” is something that lies off in the distance and not here and now. 

These would be innocent delusions if there were not villages like Al Mughayyir that are being swallowed by apartheid settlers right now, and Ali Abu Alia was not being killed for that racist system. Right wing Israeli Jewish political culture loves all this empty talk of a two-state solution down the road. It is in charge of the government and the land for as long as anyone can see, and it is committed to stealing more Palestinian land and denying all Palestinians their rights.

There is only one way to end that system — from outside. The American government needs to bring sustained pressure on Israel, to force a change of mind internally. It will not do so until there is a crisis inside the Jewish community. The most obvious lever of that change is BDS. If you are not for BDS, you are not serious about Palestinian rights or a democratic future.

h/t James North, Adam Horowitz, Scott Roth, Michael Arria. - "Source" -  

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